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Nick Saban

Nick Saban

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Published by mdfishbein

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Published by: mdfishbein on Mar 06, 2012
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Nick Saban: Middle of the Field Safety Coverage Principles (part III - Cover 1)
Cover 1
 Just like it sounds, man-free coverage is man-to-man defense with a free safety in the deephole (and a linebacker in the shallow hole). Players simply line up and play the respectiveman across from them.1.
Corners always take the first receiver outside (and use the MOF divider justlike in C3)2.
The Strong Safety displaces to the second receiver3.
The Mike and Sam play the backs respectively (Sam has first back out strong /Mike has third back)4.
The Will takes the first back out weak or the second receiver weak. As can be found on page 167 of the LSU playbook, where it explains Cover 1 assignmentsand adjustments to each formation. The position-maintenance covered in the first section of this series plays a major part in funnelling receivers into the free safety / rat-in-the-holehelp and eliminates duplication of effort. With man coverage, there becomes feweropportunities for interceptions, but it increases the chances of an incompletion.The main nuance of this coverage has to do with a challenging/conflicting assignments forthe backers. Because the main thrust of the defense is to stop the run from the inside outand keeping the defenders playing fast, the premise is to keep the linebackers focused on the
 backs and TE. Saban uses an alert code (RAT) to prevent a potentially „coverage breaking‟
“RAT” is used to alert inside backers of the strong safety passing off his responsibility (tight
end) to the inside linebackers. When the second receiver (tight end) stems inside (shallow),if the strong safety ran with him, he would be immediately vacating the perimeter (wherethe run game would likely be attacking) as well as running into the path of the (run game)pursuing linebackers (potential rub/pick). To quickly circumvent this hazard, when the tight
end stems inside, the strong safety will declare/yell “
“Rat” means a guy is coming
into the funnel (is being funneled) and the remaining defender in the hole shouldcut/reroute and jump this receiver as he approaches. This call accomplishes two things. First, it alerts the next backer over (Sam) that the strongsafety will take his assigned man (first back out), and he should now adjust to the second
 back out strong. Secondly, it tells the Mike, who is the “rat in the hole” that he is going to
have company soon (crossing tight end) and can jump this route as it comes.This leaves the defense with +1 in the box, putting 3 linebackers on 2 (remaining) backs (seediagram below).
 Because the 'rat' rules can be influenced by the first crosser, how does all this shake out in areal-time scenario? How is it all able to remain consistent and adjust to multi-level passingattacks? In the example below, the "shallow" or "NCAA" post/dig concept is utilized toattack the defensive coverage at 3 levels.The corners obviously eliminate the outside receivers. Because the Y aligns inside thedivider and is being funnelled into middle-of-the-field coverage, the strong safety alignsoutside and his vertical positioning on him will be low-shoulder (see first post on positionmaintenance). This puts the strong safety in perfect position to deny the vertical-to-inside breaking dig route (with additional free safety sitting over the top in the deep hole to deny the dig and the post). Because the second receiver immediately takes an inside route(shallow), he is passed off to the rat-in-the-hole (S) who is looking to cut this receiver as he

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